I'M ALWAYS EXCITED to meet and create lasting relationships with local designers, and Jess from Modern Citizen (based in San Francisco) is no exception. I'd been admiring the line for a long time and it was great to finally meet in person this summer when she came down to LA for an event at the Vrai & Oro studio. Their clothes are beautiful and timeless, and I can't wait to promote the new fall collection soon. For now, I was able to style this amazing crop.
Be sure to check them out, and read on for more of Modern Citizen.
How did you get started in design?
- My formal retail training is actually on the business side of fashion, as I started my career at Gap Inc. Prior to founding Modern Citizen, I did Strategy and Business Development for Gap Inc. Direct, the company's e-commerce division. While there, I focused on a number of new initiatives including introducing private label, which is really where I learned more about the design process from concept to execution — and what it means to build an assortment for a target customer. It's a consideration of not only style and aesthetic, but balancing that with quality; both of materials and how strategically you set up production. In building Modern Citizen, we were very passionate that our assortment offer an elevated sense of design without sacrificing quality, while still being truly accessible in terms of price point.
What, if any, are your design inspirations (in terms of other designers, nature, art, etc)?
- Photography plays a huge part in our design references; not just fashion shots, but in capturing an overall mood. Our references tend to be very consistent in terms of style — a consistent nod toward simplicity and elegance — but also in terms of subject matter. A lot of what we find ourselves going back to are collections of spaces and portraits of women that convey our brand values.
How does the place you live in influence your design aesthetic?
- San Francisco has a generally relaxed attitude toward fashion, so it's a great reminder that ease and comfort are filters that need to touch every product we design or curate. The city can also be cold or windy year-round, so our assortment always includes sweaters and outerwear regardless of the season.
What is your mission statement for Modern Citizen?
- Modern style for modern women. Modern Citizen is a destination for the modern woman, with thoughtfully designed and curated fashion and home goods. In our world, luxury is not a price point — our mission is to make modern, refined style accessible without sacrificing quality.
What other creative outlets do you have?
- Web and graphic design! Given we're a small team, up until recently I did all of our user experience design as well as our graphics for emails, etc. It definitely helped to ensure our branding was consistent across all touchpoints, but also allowed me to tap into a different part of my brain aside from the business.
Describe a typical day at work and also a day off.
- The best part about being at a startup and a small business is that no single day is ever the same — in an 8-hour period I'll touch everything from front-end coding, to budget reviews and concepting for our next lookbook. It exercises both parts of my brain everyday and I'm really thankful for that balance. Every day also comes with a lot of fun interactions with our team, each member of which I'm incredibly thankful for.
A day off looks like the exact opposite — trying to do as few activities as possible, but with the aim to be fully present at each. I haven't figured out how to incorporate traditional meditation into my routine yet, but I've found that trying to be present in my "day off" moments a good exercise in the same kind of mental discipline.
What's next for your line?
- Continuing to build upon our already amazing team, and gearing up for the holiday season when we'll be expanding our assortment of accessories and home goods. We'll also be doing our first-ever retail pop-up in downtown Los Angeles this holiday (all of November and December) — excited to share details on moderncitizen.com soon!